• A railway worker has been fired after testing positive for cocaine in a routine drug test.
  • He drank herbal tea that he bought at the market, which he later discovered contained cocaine.
  • The judge ruled that he would receive no compensation because he was “entirely at fault” for the incident.

A British railway worker dismissed from his job for testing positive for drugs was unfairly dismissed, a tribunal has ruled, after he claimed he drank herbal tea laced with cocaine.

Glenholmes’ submission to the Court shows that Paul Glenholmes, who had worked as a safety technician at Network Rail since July 2014, was dismissed in 2020 after a routine drug test found he had drugs in his system. traces of cocaine. Midlands East Tribunal.

Glenholmes was prescribed medication for a disability that caused indigestion, and to solve the problem he took an over-the-counter drug. On September 6, 2020, he bought Inca Tea at a market that did not list any of the ingredients. According to the tribunal, he found that the drug immediately relieved his indigestion.

Inca tea, also known as mate tea or coca tea, is a South American herbal tea that contains the same active ingredient as cocaine. From this point on, Glenholmes continued to promote the product and claimed to be unaware of what was in it.

On September 24, after eight weeks’ notice, he was required to take a standard drug and alcohol screening test. The results showed Glenholmes tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine detected in urine.

He was then suspended on September 30 and an investigation was launched.

Glenholmes provided a personal statement to the inquiry in which he said the failed test was due to his consumption of “Inca Tea”, which had no list of ingredients. After examining the product, he told the tribunal he realized it contained cocaine.

“With the information and research I currently have, I would not in good conscience purchase or consume this product,” he said in a statement.

Glenholmes was then unable to attend a disciplinary hearing on November 20, 2020, with Network Rail citing “stress at work” and ill health. He also found that managers failed to exercise due diligence during the investigation.

The tribunal judge ruled that procedural errors during the investigation meant the dismissal was unfair, but Glenholmes would not receive any compensation because he was “wholly at fault” for the incident.

“I have no doubt that the plaintiff was entirely at fault for his dismissal. He deliberately drank tea from South America without knowing or checking what it contained before drinking. “Furthermore, he failed to consider finding out what it contained, even though it was at least as effective as the over-the-counter medications he replaced with tea.”

Business Insider contacted the Midland East Tribunal and Network Rail for comment but did not immediately receive a response.


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